L.A. Confidential (film)


L.A. Confidential (film)

] They worked on the script together for two years with Hanson turning down jobs and Helgeland writing seven drafts for free. The two men also got Ellroy's approval of their approach. He had seen Hanson's films, "The Bedroom Window" and "Bad Influence" and found him to be "a competent and interesting storyteller", but was not convinced that his book would be made into a film until he talked to the director. He later said, "They preserved the basic integrity of the book and its main theme...Brian and Curtis took a work of fiction that had eight plotlines, reduced those to three, and retained the dramatic force of three men working out their destiny."

Warner Bros. executive Bill Gerber showed the script to Michael Nathansan, CEO of New Regency Productions, which had a deal with the studio. Nathanson loved it but they had to get the approval from the owner of New Regency, Arnold Milchan. Hanson prepared a presentation that consisted of 15 vintage postcards and pictures of L.A. mounted on poster-boards and made his pitch to Milchan. The pictures consisted of orange groves, beaches, tract homes in the San Fernando Valley, and the opening of the Hollywood Freeway to symbolize the image of prosperity sold to the public. Then, Hanson showed the darker side of Ellroy's novel with the cover of scandal rag, "Confidential" and the famous shot of Robert Mitchum coming out of jail after his marijuana bust. He also had photographs of jazz musicians of the time: Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, and Chet Baker to represent the music people listened to. Hanson emphasized that the period detail would be in the background and the characters in the foreground. Milchan was impressed with his presentation and agreed to finance it.

Casting

Hanson had seen Russell Crowe in "Romper Stomper" and found him "repulsive and scary but captivating." The actor had read Ellroy's "The Black Dahlia" but not "L.A. Confidential" and when he read the script was drawn to Bud White's "self-righteous moral crusade."cite news
last = Smith
first = Adam
coauthors =
title = The Nearly Man...
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Empire
date = December 1997
url =
accessdate =
] Crowe fit the visual preconception of Bud. Hanson put the actor on tape doing a few scenes from the script and showed it to the film's producers who agreed to cast him as Bud.cite news
last = Taubin
first = Amy
coauthors =
title = L.A. Lurid
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Sight and Sound
date = November 1997
url =
accessdate =
] Guy Pearce auditioned like countless other actors and Hanson felt that he "was very much what I had in mind for Ed Exley." The director purposely did not watch the actor in "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" afraid that it might taint his decision. Like he did with Crowe, Hanson put Pearce on tape and showed it to the producers who agreed he should be cast as Exley. Pearce did not like Exley when he first read the screenplay and remarked, "I was pretty quick to judge him and dislike him for being so self-righteous...But I liked how honest he became about himself. I knew I could grow to respect and understand him."cite news
last = Kempley
first = Rita
coauthors =
title = Guy Pearce Cuts Through the Chase
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Post
date = September 21, 1997
url =
accessdate =
] At the time, both Australian actors were relative unknowns in North America and Milchan was worried about the lack of movie stars in the lead roles. However, he supported Hanson's casting decisions and this gave the director the confidence to approach Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and Kevin Spacey. Hanson cast Crowe and Pearce because he wanted to "replicate my experience of the book. You don't like any of these characters at first, but the deeper you get into their story, the more you begin to sympathize with them. I didn't want actors audiences knew and already liked."cite news
last = Veniere
first = James
coauthors =
title = Director of "L.A. Confidential" Hits Stride
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Boston Herald
date = September 14, 1997
url =
accessdate =
]

Hanson felt that the character of Jack Vincennes was "a movie star among cops" and thought of Spacey with his "movie star charisma", casting him specifically against type. The director was confident that the actor "could play the man behind that veneer, the man who also lost his soul", and when he gave him the script, he told him to think of Dean Martin while in the role. Hanson cast Basinger because he felt that she "was the character to me. What beauty today could project the glamor of Hollywood's golden age?"

Pre-production

To give his cast and crew points and counterpoints to capture L.A. in the 1950s, he held a "mini-film festival" showing one film a week that consisted of "The Bad and the Beautiful" because it epitomized the glamorous Hollywood look Lynn Bracken; "In a Lonely Place" because it showed the ugly side of Hollywood glamor; Don Siegel's "The Lineup" and "Private Hell 36" "for their lean and efficient style"; and "Kiss Me Deadly" because it was "so rooted in the futuristic 50s: the atomic age." Hanson and the film's cinematographer Dante Spinotti agreed that the film would be shot widescreen and watched two Cinemascope films from the period: Douglas Sirk's "The Tarnished Angels" and Vincente Minnelli's "Some Came Running".

Before filming took place, Hanson brought Crowe and Pearce to L.A. for two months to immerse them in the city and the time period. He also got them dialect coaches, showed them vintage police training films and had them meet real cops. Pearce found the contemporary police force had changed too much to be useful research material and disliked the police officer he rode around with because he was racist.cite news
last = Hemblade
first = Christopher
coauthors =
title = Breaking the Mould...
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Empire
date = December 1997
url =
accessdate =
] The actor found the police films more valuable "because there was a real sort of stiffness, a woodenness about these people" that he felt Exley had as well. Crowe studied Sterling Hayden in Stanley Kubrick's crime film, "The Killing" "for that beefy manliness that came out of World War II." For six weeks, Crowe, Pearce, Hanson and Helgeland conducted rehearsals which consisted of them discussing each scene in the script.cite news
last = Arnold
first = Gary
coauthors =
title = Casting for "L.A. Confidential" went in unexpected direction
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Times
date = September 21, 1997
url =
accessdate =
] As other actors were cast they would join in.

Principal photography

Hanson did not want the film to be an exercise in nostalgia and had Spinotti shoot it like a contemporary film and use more naturalistic lighting than in a classic film noir.cite news
last = Taubin
first = Amy
coauthors =
title = Confidentially Speaking: Curtis Hanson Makes a Studio-Indie Hybrid
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Village Voice
date = September 23, 1997
url =
accessdate =
] He told Spinotti and the film's production designer Jeannine Oppewall to pay great attention to period detail but to then "put it all in the background."

Music

Jerry Goldsmith's score for the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score, but lost to James Horner's score for Best Picture Titanic

Reaction

According to Hanson, Warner Brothers did not want the film screened at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival because they felt that there was an "anti-studio bias...So why go and come home a loser?" However, Hanson wanted to debut the film at a high profile, international venue like Cannes. He and other producers bypassed the studio and sent a print directly to the festival's selection committee who loved it. Ellroy saw the film and said, "I understood in 40 minutes or so that it is a work of art on its own level. It was amazing to see the physical incarnation of the characters."

Overall, the film scored very well with critics, presently sporting a 99% "certified" fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes with 73 out of 74 reviews positive. In his review for the "Boston Globe", Jay Carr wrote, "Throughout, director Curtis Hanson wisely opts for narrative thrust instead of nostalgic noir flourishes - a must, given the complex narrative." [cite news
last = Carr
first = Jay
coauthors =
title = "L.A. Confidential" Won't Remain a Secret for Long
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Boston Globe
date = September 19, 1997
url =
accessdate =
] Janet Maslin wrote in her review for the "New York Times", "Mr. Spacey is at his insinuating best, languid and debonair, in a much more offbeat performance than this film could have drawn from a more conventional star. And the two Australian actors, tightly wound Mr. Pearce and fiery, brawny Mr. Crowe, qualify as revelations." [cite news
last = Maslin
first = Janet
coauthors =
title = The Dark Underbelly of a Sunny Town
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = September 19, 1997
url =
accessdate =
]

"L.A. Confidential" was voted as the best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of "Los Angeles Times" writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list". [cite news
last = Boucher
first = Geoff
coauthors =
title = The 25 best L.A. films of the last 25 years
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Los Angeles Times
date = August 31, 2008
url = http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-ca-25films31-2008aug31,0,70218.htmlstory
accessdate = 2008-08-31
]

Awards

Won

*Academy Awards:
*#Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Basinger)
*#Best Screenplay - Adapted (Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland)
*Australian Film Institute:
*#Best Foreign Film
*BAFTA Awards:
*#Best Editing (Peter Honess)
*#Best Sound
*Golden Globe Awards:
*#Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture (Kim Basinger)
*Screen Actors Guild (SAG):
*#Best Supporting Actress (Kim Basinger)
*Writers Guild of America (WGA):
*#Best Screenplay - Adapted (Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland)

Nominated

*Academy Awards:
*#Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
*#Best Cinematography
*#Best Director (Curtis Hanson)
*#Best Film Editing
*#Best Original Dramatic Score
*#Best Picture
*#Best Sound
*American Society of Cinematographers (ASC):
*#Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography - Theatrical Releases (Dante Spinotti)
*BAFTA Awards:
*#Best Actor (Kevin Spacey)
*#Best Actress (Kim Basinger)
*#Best Cinematography
*#Best Costume Design
*#Best Director (Curtis Hanson)
*#Best Film
*#Best Film Music (Jerry Goldsmith)
*#Best Makeup & Hair
*#Best Production Design
*#Best Screenplay - Adapted (Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland)
*Golden Globe Awards:
*#Best Director (Curtis Hanson)
*#Best Picture - Drama
*#Best Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith)
*#Best Screenplay (Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland)

DVD

A Two-Disc Special Edition was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 23, 2008 and features an audio commentary by film critic Andrew Sarris, a music only track, the following featurettes: "Whatever You Desire: Making "L.A. Confidential", "Sunlight and Shadow: The Visual Style of "L.A. Confidential", "A True Ensemble: The Cast of "L.A. Confidential", "L.A. Confidential": From Book to Screen", "Off the Record", "Photo Pitch", "The L.A. of "L.A. Confidential", and the "L.A. Confidential" 2000 TV Pilot. [cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = "L.A. Confidential" Two-Disc Special Edition
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Business Wire
date = June 16, 2008
url = http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080616005174&newsLang=en
accessdate = 2008-06-17
]

References

Further reading

* Dargis, Manohla (2003). "L.A. Confidential (BFI Modern Classics)". British Film Institute. ISBN 0-85170-944-3.

External links

*imdb title|id=0119488|title=L.A. Confidential
*amg movie|id=1:154997|title=L.A. Confidential
*rotten-tomatoes|id=la_confidential|title=L.A. Confidential
*tcmdb title|id=309918|title=L.A. Confidential
*metacritic film|id=laconfidential|title=L.A. Confidential
*Spliced Online's interviews with [http://robio.netwiz.net/features/la_ellroy.html James Ellroy] and [http://robio.netwiz.net/features/la_hanson.html Curtis Hanson]
* [http://www.edark.org/ellroy/english/menu3_en/toronto.html Press Conference] at the Toronto Film Festival


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